Quick: where’s the first place you go when you need help with a product? Google Search, right? Then why, oh why, are companies’ customer success content, training materials, and product documentation always so poorly optimized for search engines? It’s a horrible experience for your customers!

Why search-optimized product knowledge matters

Simple: your customers are definitely using search engines to find answers about your products. Buyers, too. If you’re still using PDF files and a knowledge base technology from 10-15 years ago, you can be sure your customers and prospects are finding your competition’s content and not yours. If you want to be competitive, you need to publish this content to a web-native format, and you need optimize this content for SEO.

“Wait! All our customer success content is behind a login because it’s competition-sensitive.” Huge mistake. You still make parts of this content public and use conditional content to hide competition-sensitive information from anonymous users. Speaking of competition, your competition is already doing this. If they aren’t, this is a great way for you to get ahead.

Bottom line, your marketing, sales, and support team will thank you for executing on this article. It will increase organic site traffic with potential buyers and dramatically lower your customer effort scores, which can positively impact Net Promoter Score®.

You’ll also feel like a superhero.

Step into your customers’ shoes

If you haven’t already, you can test how well-optimized your help center is for SEO. It’s a fairly simple exercise, but can have extremely far-reaching implications that can impact your ability to close and retain customers.

To start, you could talk to your support team and make a list of common questions that your customers would usually ask. Then, input different queries into Google see what results come up. If you aren’t directed to the correct page, your business may be losing customers

8 SEO tactics to drive customer success

MindTouch is a SaaS organization that has a phenomenal track record with helping businesses (including Intuit, PayPal, Accenture, and Electrolux) deliver SEO-friendly self-help options. Whether or not you use the MindTouch solution, we would like to share some of our SEO best practices to help drive customer success and increase organic site traffic.

1. URLs humans can read

These are exactly what the name states: readable by humans. You want clean, simple URLs with keywords to increase your search rankings and give your content more authority.

2. XML SiteMap

Provide a map of the site in a format that search engines can ingest. This is the best way to make sure that all your content is crawled and indexed. It also ensures that the most up to date version is captured in by search engines, including a standardized description to display on the search engine results page (SERP). In short, you’ve got to have an XML SiteMap that conforms with the search engine standards with correct information captured.

3. No broken links

Broken links frustrate customers and hurt your SEO ranking. 404 errors are very, very bad for your domain authority. What happens when you revise your docs? Or rename content? You’ve got to 301 redirect these URLs or you are hurting your entire company’s domain authority and potentially damaging the organic site traffic. Also, you risk irritating your customers and increasing your CES. MindTouchers, don’t worry.

4. Correct use of meta and alt tags for media

By using meta and alt tags correctly, you improve visibility for your site and content, make it easier for users to discover, and make it easier for web crawlers to find you.

5. Content reuse for keyword placement

Be smart about your keyword placement. Be sure these are included in the overview section so they show up in your meta description. Also, place keywords near the top. To make it easier, try to reuse content so managing these are easier. Include a diverse group of authors. This is a proven technique to making sure you’re hitting the correct keywords. Also, look at search in your knowledge analytics. This will help you identify keywords you may not have known users were using. Maybe they have a different vocabulary. You can correct this by creating Search Recommendations.

6. Proper use of nofollow tags

In general, people use nofollow tags for paid links, comments, user-generated content, embeds, and others to prevent Search Engines from crawling links that go to bad, un-related sites. The fewer links you have in your content, the more value these links have for search engines. Don’t waste your link juice on internal links that are navigational and irrelevant. MindTouchers, we have you covered on this one too.

7. High quality social links with social sharing

This makes it easy for interested followers to share content and backlink to your site. Increasingly social shares are impacting search rankings. With MindTouch you have the option of turning on or off the social sharing buttons, but it is recommended that you leave them on for SEO purposes. With this in mind, be sure to create best practices content for your users, which tends to get shared more.

8. Link and cluster pages by topic/landing pages

Strategically link pages about “Customer Success” to other pages about “Customer Success.” This strategic clustering of knowledge makes it easy, not just for web crawlers to find information, but for users to search and find the answers to their questions. Related articles are optimized for this and further improved by dynamically adapting to the search and browsing behavior of end users. Read more about the topic cluster SEO strategy.What is a Topic Cluster? – Image powered by MindTouch

If your company is not optimizing your help center for SEO, you are losing an opportunity to promote your brand, drive traffic to your site, and increase revenue. Your customers will love you if you make it easy for them to find the information that they need. Whether you’re using MindTouch or not, you should re-evaluate your SEO strategy to stop losing customers and stay one step ahead of your competitors.

Learn more about how MindTouch addresses this important challenge by reading SEO Best Practices and MindTouch.

Additional categories: Industry Trends